TurtleWatch is a citizen science program aimed at collecting data on marine turtles in the Egyptian Red Sea. Created in 2011 in collaboration with the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), the project has seen the active participation of many dive centers and turtle defenders from Sharm El Sheikh to Wadi Gemal. More than 1,000 sightings have been reported up to present. Data will be used to better understand turtle abundance and distribution in the Egyptian Red Sea.
What is TurtleWatch - Egypt 2.0?
TurtleWatch - Egypt 2.0 is a citizen science initiative aimed at collecting data on marine turtles in the Egyptian Red Sea. Started in 2011 under HEPCA, the project was designed to collect information from professional and recreational divers on sea turtle abundance and distribution.
Data collected by volunteers at sea has proven to be very useful in a number of surveys targeting coral reefs, marine mammals, fish and now, turtles. Recent studies also suggest that many recreational divers consider being involved in data collection or observation programs as an opportunity to contribute to the conservation of the marine environment. Marine turtles are easily identifiable species that usually occupy the same areas used by divers, thus they are particularly suitable for observation and monitoring projects that require the help of non-scientist users.
In 2015, the original data collection protocol was modified substantially, new ways of reporting data were introduced, and in 2018 the project was finally relaunched in its new version: TURTLEWATCH - EGYPT 2.0
Who can participate?
The TurtleWatch program is open to all diving and snorkelling centers working in the Egyptian Red Sea area and their guests. The TurtleWatch manual includes all the information necessary to conduct a TurtleWatch survey and involve recreational divers interested in the program.
What do I need?
To participate in a TurtleWatch survey, you need to enjoy swimming and diving with marine turtles, you need to be a good field observer and to report sea turtle information on a regular basis. An underwater camera is fundamental to report your sightings.
The TurtleWatch program is open to all divers in the Red Sea. All the information required to conduct a TurtleWatch survey is available for download here.
How do I report my data?
Easy! You can send us your pictures through our Facebook page! Like and follow us!
How data will be used?
The data collected from the dive centers will be reviewed by BEC staff, inserted in our Red Sea Turtle database and will be used to generate spatial and temporal distribution maps of sea turtles but also to estimate population trends and abundance. Reports will be published on a regular basis on our website and your contribution will be acknowledged. If you are interested in receiving regular follow-ups of the project, you can subscribe to our newsletter on our website.